Congratulations to local food and drink finalists

Hepworth & Co brewery, Sussex Food and Drink Awards finalist
Hepworth & Co brewery, Sussex Food and Drink Awards finalist

Horsham District businesses are again strongly represented in the list of finalists for this year’s Sussex Food and Drink Awards.

Out of the 68 finalists nominated by the public and assessed by an expert panel of judges, 16 are from the district, proving that its businesses really do lead the way when it comes to food and drink.

The Sussex Food and Drink Awards, now in their eighth year, are the only awards that highlight, recognise and support Sussex farmers and producers and the businesses that sell and promote their produce.

Olympic gold medal winner, Sally Gunnell OBE, is patron to the awards and a great supporter of locally produced food, believing that it is the way forward for a healthy lifestyle.

This year the awards are for the following categories and here are the District’s businesses that are finalists:

Sussex Farmer of the Year Award - David Exwood, Itchingfield; John & Alison Ford, Partridge Green and Tim & Charles Harrison, Rudgwick

Best Sussex Food Producer - Kate’s Cookhouse, the Raw Chocolate Company

Best Sussex Eating Experience - The Countryman Inn, Shipley; The Crabtree, Lower Beeding; The Green Man, Partridge Green

Best Sussex Farmers Market - Horsham Local Produce Market and Steyning Farmers Market

Sussex Butcher of the Year - S K Hutchings, Partridge Green

Best Sussex Food/Farm Shop - Swains Farm Shop, Henfield and Village Larder, Washington

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year - Hepworth and Co Brewers Ltd, Old Rudgwick Cider Society and Wiston Wine Estate

A slight change this year is that the nominations for The Sussex Young Chef of the Year will remain open until the end of July, when the top six will be announced and go forward as usual for the cook off in the autumn.

Voting for these prestigious awards is open until 13 September 2013 and the top three that receive the most votes in each category and re-considered by the awards judges, will become grand finalists.

These will be announced in November and all grand finalists will be invited to the foodie event of the year, the Sussex Food & Drink Awards banquet at the American Express Community Stadium on Thursday 30 January 2014.

Many of the businesses shortlisted as finalists for the 2013 awards will also be featured in this year’s Horsham District Food and Drink Festival and Local Produce Guide, which launches with ‘The Big Nibble’ event in Horsham on the weekend of 31 August and 1 September, and will run for four weeks until 29 September.

To see all the finalists and to vote for a Horsham District business, visit the awards’ site.

For the Local Produce Guide incorporating this year’s Food and Drink Festival, visit their site or call 01403 215264.

The County Times is proud to be a media partner to the Sussex Food and Drink Awards.